Best backpacking tents 2019: 21 options for all budgets to travel light
Need a compact, storm-proof and lightweight tent? We got 'em! Actually, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what these best backpacking tents can do...
Whether you’re an avid backpacker or just starting out in the sport, you’ll quickly realize how essential some tools are and how trivial others might be.
Finding the best ultralight tent can be challenging – as you progress further and further into adventure sports that involve toting around backpack gear, the importance of having a lightweight pack and the difference that it can make is truly astounding.
While this applies most specifically to backpacking over longer distances and for longer periods of time, such as camping trips and overnight hiking trips, the fact persists for each journey that may be ahead of you.
Having lighter gear can result in a much more considerable level of manageability when it comes to physical demands.
Lucky for you, and the rest of us backpacking junkies, there are numerous companies that go the extra mile to produce gear that can eliminate unnecessary and avoidable weight, leaving us with light packs that are ready to be hoisted, lugged, toted, and shouldered for any number of outdoor camping trips.
Though we can agree that the number of products that come in ultralight options is numerous, we want to take a special look at a product that can truly make a difference in your pack and in your trip: the best ultralight tent.
As we further consider the outstanding characteristics that ultralight tents bring to the table, we’ll take a look at the best picks and how they can fit any number of budgets.
Quick Comparison of Best Ultralight Solo Tent Options:
|Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1:||A||★★★★★|
|Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum:||A-||★★★★☆|
|Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1:||B+||★★★★|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1:||A-||★★★★☆|
|Kelty Salida 1:||A||★★★★☆|
|Marmot Tungsten 1:||B||★★★★☆|
|Nemo Blaze 1P:||A-||★★★★☆|
|Nemo Hornet 1P:||B+||★★★★☆|
Quick Comparison of Best Ultralight Multi-Person Tent Options:
|Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum:||A||★★★★★|
|Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo II Shelter:||A-||★★★★☆|
|ZPacks Duplex Twin Tent:||B+||★★★★|
|Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid:||A-||★★★★☆|
|The North Face O2:||A||★★★★☆|
|Big Agnes Scout Plus UL2:||B||★★★★☆|
|Marmot Nitro 2P:||A-||★★★★☆|
|Nemo Blaze 2P Tent:||B+||★★★★☆|
Quick Comparison of Best Ultralight Budget Friendly Tent Options:
|Paria Outdoor Breeze Mesh Tent:||A-||★★★★☆|
|Andake Ultralight Tent:||B+||★★★★|
|Luxe Tempo 2 Person Ultralight Tent:||A||★★★★☆|
Why Choosing an Ultralight Tent is Important
As we said before, an ultralight tent can bring a lot to the table.
Opting for an ultralight tent, rather than any standard, conventional option, can act as a substantial factor in terms of weight and how you feel during a hike or trip.
Though the difference between these two types of tents, ultralight and an average conventional tent, may seem to be arguably small, the truth is that even ounces of difference can go a long way when it comes to your pack.
If you are carrying the pack for days or weeks at a time, traveling up, down, and through challenging terrain, it is important to have gear that is as light as possible.
Having said that, perhaps it’s one thing to understand how essential it is to have an ultralight tent, and another thing to know where to start when choosing one that best fits your needs. Worry not, we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at the best tents out there.
The Best Ultralight Solo Tents
Our verdict for the best ultralight tent – The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 tent – many avid backpackers flock to because of its weight (or lack of) and durability.
Weighing a little under 3 pounds when packed, this tent has many characteristics that make it a great choice for any number of overnight trips.
Along with its storm flap, mesh body, silicone treated nylon material, and waterproof polyurethane coating, this tent is a durable option that can keep you dry and ventilated.
The Big Agnes Seedhouse tent can be purchased for approximately $415.
This ultralight 1-person tent is another fan favorite that comes in at a weight of approximately 3.5 pounds.
Slightly cheaper than the aforementioned Big Agnes 1-person sleeper, the platinum tent can be purchased for about $350.
Among its many appealing characteristics are its reflective guyline and webbing that can be found on the tent’s corners, a DAC Featherlite pole system, and a water-resistant polyurethane coating.
This product features a fast flyweight of approximately 1 pound and 4 ounces and a packed weight of just over 2 pounds.
Along with its condensed packed size of 4” x 18.5,” this tent is a great option for camping and hiking enthusiasts searching for a smaller, extremely lightweight tent to add on to their pack.
This tent can be purchased for approximately $240 and is only a small step down from its higher-priced Big Agnes sister tents.
Big Agnes is obviously doing something right with its ultralight tent series.
Another tent getting plenty of attention and finding itself as a favorite among backpackers is the Big Agnes Copper Spur 1-person tent.
This tent boasts the weather-resistant, waterproof coatings like the other Big Agnes tents, weighing approximately 2.5 pounds.
The unique factor that sets this tent apart from others is the use of Mountain Glow Light Technology.
The Kelty Salida 1-person tent is an award-winning ultralight tent with dimensions 17 x 12 x 5 inches.
Weighing approximately 3.5 pounds when packed, this tent is backpacking friendly and can be easily rolled to fit along nicely with any pack.
The Kelty Salida 1 Tent can be purchased for any price between $99 – $145.
This 1-person sleeper from Marmot is a 3-season double walled tent that is made from polyester with a polyurethane coating.
As a freestanding tent, the 1 pound tent weight with 24 x 9 x 6 inch dimensions are truly impressive, making it a top-selling ultralight tent for backpackers, bikers, and adventurists alike.
The Nemo Blaze 1-person tent is one of the best in ultralight tents. The Nemo Blaze sleeper has an undeniable amount of space for a tent of its weight and size.
What’s more, the unique pole system that has been designed by Nemo makes it more stable than its counterparts, and with half the number of pole attachments.
The Nemo Hornet 1-person tent is another best-selling ultralight tent from the Nemo company.
This synthetic tent includes unique details such as the light pockets, guyots, and watertight compression feature.
With a purchase price of approximately $330, this ultralight tent is a great free-standing sleeping option, that can be set up in little to no time.
The Best Ultralight Multi-Person Tents
The Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum tent also found a spot on our list of the best ultralight 1-person tents.
However, the 2-person sleeper also deserves a special shout-out. This tent is a higher-priced option on our list, but has the innovative characteristics that many campers and backpackers are searching for.
With a weight of 3.8 pounds, this tent can be easily split among packs to make it an even lighter addition.
The DAC Featherlite NFL pole system and silicone treated nylon ripstop with polyurethane coating are among the additional qualities that make this 2-person sleeper a wise, lasting investment.
This 3-season tent shelter is a unique ultralight option that can be shared between two backpackers.
The DCF8 Dyneema material that is used for this tent is among the lightest, most-protective fabrics available in outdoor gear.
The Dyneema floor is waterproof, insect-proof, and weather-resistant, all while weighing less than 2 pounds.
Purchasing this tent shelter is more of an investment, as it boasts a list price of $695. However, with the innovative material and ultralight factor, it is a tent that can’t be beat.
The Duplex Twin Tent is a fantastic choice for an ultralight tent.
Weighing a mere 21 ounces when packed, this tent offers campers, backpackers, and hikers a considerable amount of space inside as well as protection from weather and bugs.
Another quality that sets this ultralight tent apart from others is its unique material.
ZPacks has constructed this tent from Cuben Fiber Fabric, a high thread-count Dyneema fabric. Despite the thicker, stronger material that is more resistant to tearing, this twin tent weighs less than most of its competition.
This 3-person tent is a great option for campers searching for a tent with a larger square footage.
Providing around 70 square feet of comfort, this SuperMid tent by Mountain Laurel Designs weighs 29 ounces and can be used in any season due to its capacities for weather-resistance.
The SuperMid is a great option for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and backpacking through colder terrains.
The North Face O2 tent is a double-wall tent that provides significant weather protection.
What’s more, the O2 tent comes comes with a U-shaped overhead pole that is used during the setup of the tent, and that allows for maximized head space.
This tent is a great option that costs around $239 and mimics the design and weather-protectant features of some more expensive competition.
The Big Agnes Scout Plus UL2 is a 2-person tent that is a favorite among campers searching for a larger ultralight tent with ample amounts of space.
Despite its larger size, however, the Big Agnes Scout Plus has a packed weight of approximately 2 pounds and 3 ounces.
Considering that the tent may be divided among different packs, this makes it a great choice that requires little space or adds on much weight to one’s gear.
The Big Agnes Scout Plus features a classic design, with an A-frame wall and simple pole construction.
The Marmot Nitro 2P is a 2-person tent that can be used in 3-seasons.
This tent can be purchased for around $240, and includes a number of qualities that make it a wise choice and worthy investment.
First of all, the Marmot Nitro 2P has a small weight of just 1 pound, and dimensions of 5 x 8 x 20 inches.
This makes it a great option to roll up and easily add on to any pack. This tent is favored for its capacity to be compacted, and then easily set up when ready for use.
As with the Agnes 1P and 2P designs, we think the Nemo Blaze 2P is worthy of a mention alongside its sister 1P tent.
The Nemo Blaze 2P Tent is an ultralight backpacking tent that has a large interior space for its weight and size.
As with the 1P sleeper, the 2P tent is made with an innovative pole system that maximizes stability while using only half the parts.
The 2 vestibules and built in privacy panel are further features that allow for extra privacy and gear storage.
These features along with the small size and lightweight quality, make it a great option for longer treks and journeys
The Best Ultralight Budget Friendly Tent Options:
The Paria Outdoor Mesh Tent is a 2-person tent that can be purchased for as little as $59.
This tent offers versatility and ultimate protection, boasting taped seams, silicon coating, and bug-resistant mesh.
Weighing only 24 ounces, this Paria tent can be easily toted along with any pack.
The Andake Ultralight Tent is one of our favorite lightweight, low-cost options.
Costing a little under $100, this 1-person tent weighs only 750g.
Among its many other attractive qualities are its waterproof, windproof, and anti-mosquito characteristics
The Luxe Tempo option is a 2-person lightweight tent that is ideal for backpacking.
Coming with pack-friendly features that allow for easy attachment, this tent comes in at a weight a little under 4 pounds when packed.
Along with ultralight silicon coated nylon fabric, making it water-resistant, this tent provides protection from bugs and UV-rays.